May 2009 Newsletter.
The independent voice of teachers. 10 000+ subscribers.

#1 Change on the horizon for the ICT curriculum
#2 Is your school getting the most out from its technology?
Transforming schools for the future - provoking schools to think differently
#4 New ways of learning outdoor
#5 Developments in internet filtering and online safety for children
#6 Army Education Website - Free Resources
#7 Family News

#1 Change on the horizon for the ICT curriculum

Hot on the heels of the interim Rose Review of the primary curriculum, with its suggestion that aspects of the Key Stage 3 curriculum for ICT might be more appropriately taught in Key Stage 2, comes OFSTED's report, 'The importance of ICT: information and communication technology in primary and secondary schools'. Within what can be a rather damning report is contained the suggestion that an over-reliance on Office applications has restricted opportunities and creativity within the ICT curriculum. It does feel that we are beginning to see an acceptance in official circles of how children's use of the web, and in particular of the social web, prepares them for a more challenging and creative ICT curriculum, with a broader set of web-based tools, at an earlier age.


#2 Is your school getting the most from its technology?

Is your school getting the most from its technology? Keep up-to-date and find out how to use technology effectively in teaching, learning and management, by signing up to Becta’s newsletters. To receive regular updates with the latest technology focused news and developments in education, register now at


#3 Transforming schools for the future - provoking schools to think differently

Comment and evidence have been building for a while of a gap in many places between the transformational aims of the Building Schools for the Future and Primary Capital Programmes and the reality on the ground of heads and authorities looking for more modern versions of the schooling we've always known. Enter Toshiba and Futurelab with a collection of provocative papers aimed at narrowing that gap and stimulating discussion and debate around the aims of both programmes to radically alter our vision and delivery of education in the 21st century. These papers are required reading for anyone seeking to contribute to our more ambitious aims for the next generation of schools.

#4 New ways of learning outdoors

As more and more schools have moved more of their learning outdoors in recent years, particularly in the primary sector, so the market for advice and resources in support of that move has grown. The BSF and Primary Capital programmes appear to have stimulated that market further. Individuals and organisations seeking to understand that market more are well advised to take note of another recent publication from Futurelab, the 'Reimagining outdoor learning spaces' handbook. The handbook focuses on "the use and utility of outdoor space for play and learning, and aims to support those thinking about redesigning their outdoor spaces".


#5 Developments in interent filtering technologies and other measures to promote online safety

This interesting document has been brought to my attention. It's the latest report from the Australian Communications and Media Authority on Developments in internet filtering technologies and other measures 
for promoting online safety (Apr 2009).  Your attention is drawn to page p. 43 for a good overview of the use (or not) of age verification to validate children online.

My view on children and online safety?

1. Accept you're not going to stop it, kids will do this because it's part of their life, you'd be better off trying to stop them talking to each other out of school.

2. If you ban them then they will never tell you when they are being abused or bullied online. They will be scared that you will stop their "social" life - and it is THEIR social life however much it may be alien to yours or mine. To them the online and offline are blurred into one, they see no difference.

3. What is needed is education. Of the children and of the parent. Not a one off thing but a whole school culture thing. Agony Aunt type thing perhaps, get the Y6 to prepare a help sheet for younger members in the school, see if kids from local secondary school can come in and give good advice re safety and what to do/not to do, they will listen to them.

4. Get the parents up to speed on it so they don't freak out and get frightened by the net. Lots of hype out there.Link: is a useful FREE book, especially the "contract" bit.

5. On your school website, links to decent resources like the wiredsafety, CEOP and child net resources should be there for the community.

We're not going to stop young people, or older people, using technology for being mean but what we can do is create an ethos in institutions where bullying is not acceptable and recognises that in-school/out-of-school is now blurred for ever and it's not coming back.

I was at a cyberbulling conference last year in New York, one novel approach by the New Jersey education network manager was novel, he challanged the children to break the system and let him know how they did it and gave an award for the best ideas. I also heard about how young teens are going into schools to inform and train up others in the schools to carry the message that cyberbullying is just bullying and all the school should work together to stop it. I also heard tragic tales of what happens when things go wrong and young people feel unable to share their fears with adults.

Link: PDF report Developments in Interent filtering

#6 Army Education Website - Free Resources

The Army In Education website is offering free curriculum support for secondary school teachers. Aimed at teachers of students aged 11-16 years, the website provides a range of free curriculum support materials for Geography, PE, Assemblies and History using aspects of the British Army as a theme for learning.  In addition to the curriculum support materials teachers will be able to find out how Army museums and Army Careers Advisers can enhance classroom learning.

It is hoped that by developing a better understanding of the work of the British Army, that young people will respect the work of British Soldiers and their role in our society.


#7 Family News

I've got a mac pro! It looks great and the pictures wonderful but I've been amazed at how difficult it is to get programmes to work with it. I'm using Entourage 2008 which is and MS product for email like MS Outlook but can you get you transfer your emails from one to the other?  And my other fav programmes don't have a version for Mac. So, what do I have, a very nice laptop but I'm having to run Windows on it to get to the progs I need. Rant over!
Fiona has stopped doing her OU degree. She doesn't feel able to carry on at the moment due to her Dad's illness. He's not sick sick but the cancer is there and it will worsen. I understand her choice but it's frustating as I know how much she wanted to do it. Her choice though and I'll support her in it.
John (14) has developed muscles! When did this happen? He was flaunting them around this morning, I shall have to get into training. He is doing something called Oracle in school, database programmeing and doing well. I'm a tad worried he doesn't seem to be doing as much sport as he did.
Lizzie (11) got a distinction for her Step 1 piano but her nose is still not right so her singing is on hold. She's been taking these steroids for a while now and it doesn't seem to have improved her breathing. What to do?
James (8) - I have at last taught him to tie shoe laces!  He's also started going to gym club on a Wednesday by his own choice. He seems happier and more together. Still forgets everything and his room becomes a tip just by him walking into it much to the annoyance of John who shares the room with him.
Over all, things are fine here, even keel...all is quiet....maybe too quiet!
Do let me know your news as well. : ) Tim